Let’s go where the streets of Queens are filled with chai, henna, roti, lehenga choli, sarpeches, and bhangra.

The Chhaya Community Development Corporation will host its signature South Asian Street Festival (translated as Chatpati Mela) in Jackson Heights on Saturday, July 21, from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

To take place on 77th Street between Roosevelt Avenue and 37th Avenue, this sixth annual showcase will feature food, dance, music, and cultural heritage goods. Expect items from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, and several Caribbean countries with large South Asia Diaspora communities.

There will also be a panipuri-eating contest. (Panipuri is a snack that usually includes chick peas, onion, potato, tamarind, and chaat masala.)

More than 1,500 people are expected, and various nonprofit groups – including Malani Srinivasan & Dancers, Nepali Dance Theater, and the Raj Kumari Cultural Center – will either perform or sponsor booths. So attendees can expect children’s crafts, book-binding workshops, health information, and maybe even a puppet show.

Trisha Sakhuja, the co-founder and CEO of Brown Girl Magazine, will be the master of ceremonies.

Click here for the complete program.

Founded in 2000, Chhaya assists New York City’s South Asian community in the fields of housing and economic development. This includes tenant rights, foreclosure prevention, and homeownership. The agency organizes Chatpati Mela to promote the positive aspects of South Asian culture.

Images: Chhaya/NehaGautam


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